Head coach of the Indian cricket team, Ravi Shastri talks about the stricter lockdown rules in India as compared to those in Australia where players were free to move around in the city. Earlier in March, in the initial stages of the covid pandemic, India imposed a 21-day lockdown followed by subsequent lockdowns where people were not allowed to step out of their houses, apart from essentials, and all the public places were closed.
Even today, some of the places are under night curfew in India, and there are plenty of constraints in public gathering places. However, a country such as Australia relaxed its lockdown rules much earlier, and most of the public spots were opened along with international travel.
I had empathy for the players: Ravi Shastri
Ravi Shastri underlined that during the lockdown in India people were not allowed to move, especially in the big cities which meant that players who didn’t have open spaces of their own were not able to undergo their regular training. He felt that it was highly torturous living just inside four walls.
As quoted by Times of India, Ravi Shastri said, “If you bear in mind the lockdown in India, no one might move out. Barring players who were fortunate to be in smaller cities, with giant homes, who might’ve had entry to personal open areas. But in cities like Mumbai, Delhi – all people were locked inside their homes or flats. It was extremely torturous.”
The former opener compared it with the Australians who were at least allowed to make intracity movements and go into the parks, and fields and other open spaces even in the cities.
He also believes that the Aussies got exposure to cricket much before the Indian players. Aaron Finch’s side toured England in mid-August for white-ball matches. On the other hand, the Indian players, and not everyone, made their comeback only in the IPL before touring down under.
“They also landed up in England for the white-ball series and there was exposure. Whereas, till we landed right here, it was solely the IPL that allowed our players to enter the field,” Ravi Shastri added.
Ravi Shastri empathized with the players as they have undergone quarantine after landing in Australia and only were allowed to practice in small groups. He opined that the players were still rusty of a long IPL season and then being in quarantine which affected their performances in the first two ODIs. India were thrashed convincingly by the hosts in the first couple of ODIs, but the men in blue came back strongly to win the third ODI and the T20I series.
“When I began the crew conferences – after a touchdown in Australia – I had just one thing in mind: empathy. It was a strict 14-day quarantine, and we were locked up in our rooms. The only time we might get to see one another was when warm-ups gradually began.
“We knew it was going to be tough. After the ODIs, I informed the gamers ‘it is okay, take it straightforward. But be observant. Getting into the combo of it was vital. By the third one-dayer, issues bought calmer,” Ravi Shastri further added.
Currently, the Indian team is facing Australia A in the second warm-up match. The first of the four-Test matches commence on 17th December in Adelaide. It will be a pink-ball day0night contest- the first between the two sides.